Whether you’ve been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis (OA), or another form, your stiff, painful joints may make you reluctant to move and take part in activities you once enjoyed. But you don’t have to downsize your life once you develop arthritis. In fact, your arthritis could be just the nudge you need to expand your life and form new, healthful habits.
At Advanced Pain Management in Castro Valley, San Ramon, and Fremont, California, pain management specialist Ravi Panjabi, MD, diagnoses and treats all forms of arthritis, including RA, OA, and gout. Here, he and our team provide you with some options for adjusting to life with arthritis so your next years can be your best years.
Titillate your palette
One of the benefits of having arthritis is that you get to experiment with new, healthful foods — including some exotic vegetables and fruits — that you may never have considered. All forms of arthritis involve a chronic process called inflammation, which may be exacerbated by certain foods.
The bad news is that you need to cut out those foods (most of which aren’t good for you, anyway) to help subdue your chronic inflammation. The good news is, many flavorful and colorful foods and spices have anti-inflammatory properties, so you can indulge in them freely.
One note: If you have a form of arthritis called gout, many healthy foods actually aren’t good for you. Talk to Dr. Panjabi about how to avoid gout-causing purines in your diet. Purines are found in red meat, organs, seafood, and beer.
If you have any form of arthritis, avoid pro-inflammatory foods such as:
- Junk food or fried food
- Processed foods
- Processed meats
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Saturated fats
- Omega 6 fatty acids (i.e., seed oils, vegetable oils, mayonnaise)
- Refined carbohydrates (i.e., white flour, breads, and pasta)
- Factory-farmed meats, poultry, and eggs
If you have RA or OA (but not gout) add in plenty of anti-inflammatory foods such as:
- Fatty fish, such as salmon and sardines
- Grass fed and pastured meats and poultry
- Wild-caught fish and seafood
If you have any form of arthritis — including gout — pile up on healthy vegetables and fruits such as:
- Leafy greens
- Most nuts and seeds
- Dark fruits and berries
- Colorful vegetables
- Olive oil
- Spices such as ginger, turmeric, and cinnamon
When it comes to diet, your body may react differently than the next person’s. You can try an elimination diet, wherein you avoid all potentially inflammatory foods for three weeks, and see if your symptoms improve. One by one, you add back foods and gauge your reaction.
Get stronger and more active
Even though your joints may scream at you to leave them alone, don’t listen. When you move your joints, they release a lubricant called synovial fluid, which helps the bones glide smoothly over one another. Counterintuitively, the more you move your joints, the better they’ll feel.
Movement increases blood flow to your joints. Blood brings them oxygen and nutrients, so they can function better. Movement also activates genes that help you repair the cartilage that’s been damaged by arthritis.
Dr. Panjabi evaluates your current fitness level to help you create a starting routine that you add to as you get stronger. You may begin by simply walking several times a day and doing stretching exercises.
As your fitness level increases (and you lose weight due to more activity and a healthier diet!), he may recommend other types of exercise, including dancing, swimming, or cycling. Resistance exercises — including weight lifting — are also extremely important if you have arthritis.
When you strengthen your muscles through resistance training, you avoid age-related sarcopenia (i.e., muscle loss), strengthen your bones, and take pressure off your joints. Resistance training helps keep you strong enough to avoid falls and other accidents that could negatively impact your joints.
Heal or cancel pain
At Advanced Pain Management, we’re proud to offer regenerative medicine in the form of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy. The PRP serum we create from your own blood helps your body heal pain at its source and regrow damaged tissue, including the cartilage on your joints.
In addition, we offer a number of other supportive therapies and pain-management techniques, including steroid injections and painkillers. We may also recommend:
- Behavioral therapy
- Physical therapy
Find out more about how to adjust to and expand your life after your arthritis diagnosis with lifestyle adjustments, pain management, and supportive therapies. Contact our office nearest you today. We can be reached by phone or our online booking tool.